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IFGF Global


“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
(Luke 16:10 NIV)

Trust and trustworthiness are crucial elements in relationships. They are the “foundation of all relationships,” whether in work, ministry, society, or even in one’s relationship with God. Trust is not something demanded or forced but rather something earned. How can it be earned or when can it be earned?

One way is by “keeping promises.” When we fulfill our word responsibly, we are considered trustworthy. Another way is when we remain faithful to God and others. When we are sincerely faithful to something unseen, we are faithful to what is seen. When consistently doing everything wholeheartedly, one will add value to themselves to be trusted.

Trust is built on competence. A person can be considered trustworthy when they prove themselves capable of fulfilling tasks and duties. In other words, the lower the level of ability, the more difficult it is to be trusted. That’s why in marriage, each party must diligently and responsibly perform their part. Incompetence will weaken the level of trust.

Trust is also built on character. The better a person’s character, the more reliable they are. Conversely, the worse a person’s character, the more difficult it is for others to trust them. In the context of husband and wife, each party must always be ready to improve themselves and be willing to be renewed. The attitude of always being right and unwilling to change is a sign of problematic character.

On the other hand, according to the theory of development, trustworthiness is influenced during the growth period, based on how parents treat one. Parents who have a controlling parenting style, regulating all of the child’s activities and not providing adequate support, generally will cultivate a child’s character far from responsibility; they will grow into unreliable individuals. The same thing happens to children who grow up in neglect (lack of parental attention). They never have the opportunity to learn responsibility.

Marriage is built on trust, and it is destroyed by mistrust. Why are there husbands who are diligent in church attendance and active in ministry but fall into unfaithfulness to their households? Doesn’t he love his partner? Generally, falling into unfaithfulness doesn’t happen suddenly. There are sharp pebbles that sometimes fail to be observed. The separation of husband and wife’s activities can be one trigger for emotional “divorce.” The wife is busy with household affairs, while the husband is active outside almost every night, which is an unhealthy condition. Over time, such a situation will loosen the bond and reduce the level of trust.

In counseling rooms, serious marital conflicts are often found, the root causes of which are like the case above. The source of the crack has been there long before the marriage. In togetherness, they do not support and love each other but demand or ignore each other. They have difficulty creating a harmonious and warm atmosphere in their relationship. They are not couples who refuse to build happiness together, but “they are incapable of doing so.” A sentence that sounds strange, but such an ambiguous reality is often found. They do not realize what is truly the root cause.

How can we help individuals like this? In the counseling process, generally, such problems can be helped, only time is needed. First and foremost, we need to have the Spirit of Discernment to unearth the root cause of the real problem. Don’t get trapped focusing only on the daily triggers that cause problems. Try to make the congregation you serve “find their problems” because they know exactly. Of course, the process of uncovering it through the interview technique we do.

Try to provide awareness about themselves, and what is currently happening. They must be guided to reach the “current stage” of what they are experiencing and want. Guide them to acknowledge and let go of bad things that are sometimes unrecognized. Before letting go, acknowledgment is needed. Because what can be discarded, if they never feel they own it? There is no need to blame the past. Release forgiveness for oneself and others involved. Accept oneself as is and be ready to step up for improvement.

Guide them to identify the triggers that cause bad behavior and learn to be alert when they have to “deal with” these triggers. Next, start practicing new habits and controlled ways of thinking that are in line with the principles of truth in God’s Word. Strive to learn to give positive responses or more assertive words in situations that feel uncomfortable.

Hopefully, the practical steps above can guide couples to experience relationship recovery. God helps.

Source: Ps. Agus Prihardjo (Coordinator of Mental and Moral Health)

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